ENV100H1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Habitat Fragmentation, Basalt, Keystone Species

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Published on 8 Feb 2018
School
UTSG
Department
School of Environment
Course
ENV100H1
Professor
ENV100 Review Practice
QUESTION #1:
a. In class we defined “environment” to include biotic and abiotic components, the
built environment, and social/cultural institutions. How do social/cultural
institutions influence the natural environment? Please mention three ways.
Answer: (1 mark for each of three reasonable ways that social/cultural institutions influence the
natural environment. Specific examples are not necessarily required, but how each of them is
connected to the natural environment needs to be clear.)
Social/cultural institutions influence the natural environment through:
the establishment of laws (OR) regulations governing the use of the environment
or withdrawal of resources (just saying “laws” would only be good for ½ mark)
laws or regulations that govern our impacts on the environment, such as limiting
pollution
government policies, such as setting aside protected land or subsidizing resource
extraction
economic drivers such as poverty, which might lead a country to exploit its natural
resources, for example
cultural values, such as holding a certain natural location to be sacred or important
traditional ecological knowledge
b. Name one biotic and one abiotic component of the natural environment.
Answer: (0.5 marks for biotic; 0.5 marks for abiotic not necessary to define them, just give an
example. They need to be examples from the NATURAL environment, not from the BUILT
environment, so “buildings” is not an appropriate example of an abiotic component, for
example.)
Biotic: (anything living) possible examples include tree, bird, moss, deer, fish, etc.
Abiotic: (nonliving components of the environment) possible examples include
water, sunlight, minerals/rocks (Note soil is not a good example, since so much of
soil is alive; 0.25 marks for soil as an example, either for biotic or abiotic)
c. What is the difference between environmental science and environmentalism?
Answer: (1 mark for each; not absolutely necessary to have a long statement contrasting them,
as long as the difference is made clear)
Environmental science is a scientific undertaking that explores the interactions
between humans and the physical/biological world. (OR) Environmental science is
the pursuit of knowledge about how the natural world works, how natural
resources and processes support life, and the impacts of our activities on the
natural world.
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Environmentalism is a social movement aimed at protecting the natural
environment. (OR) Environmentalism is advocacy on behalf of the natural
environment.
The contrast: Science is a systematic approach to learning about the world and
testing our knowledge; in principle, science (and therefore environmental science)
strives to remain an objective source of knowledge about the world. By definition,
in contrast, advocacy (and therefore environmentalism) is biased and not objective;
this is the main contrast with environmental science, which strives to remain
objective.
d. Define sustainability. OR Define sustainable development.
Answer: (2 marks for either definition)
Sustainability: Sustainability refers to an approach to living on this planet (OR an
approach to development), that:
Meets current human needs.
Leaves future generations with a rich and full Earth.
Conserves Earth’s natural resources.
Maintains fully functioning ecological systems.
OR
Sustainable development: Sustainable development is development that satisfies our
current needs without compromising the future availability of natural resources or
future quality of life. (OR) Sustainable development is development that maximizes
economic, social, and environmental goals.
e. What is the difference between a hypothesis and a theory?
Answer: (1 mark for reasonable explanation of each term; not necessary to have a detailed
statement contrasting them, as long as the difference is clear)
A hypothesis is an educated guess that explains a phenomenon or answers a
scientific question.
In contrast, a theory is a widely accepted, well-tested explanation that has been
extensively validated by a great amount of research.
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QUESTION #2:
a. Please list three characteristics that make Earth unique as a planet.
Answer: (1 mark for each of three characteristics from the following list)
existence of water in three forms (solid, liquid, gas) at the surface (it is NOT
sufficient to just say “water”)
ecosphere (OR) conditions that support life (OR) life-supporting sphere
dynamic nature of the lithosphere (OR) plate tectonics
b. Why is water such an important and unique substance? Please give two reasons.
Answer: (0.5 marks for each of two reasons, any two of the reasons listed here)
supports life (OR) required for life (OR) even land-dwelling organisms need water
to live
dominates Earth’s surface
unique chemical properties polar molecule (OR) positive on one end, negative on
the other end; bonds easily with other polar molecules
c. Name and briefly describe one of the main hypotheses that have been proposed to
explain the origin of life on Earth.
Answer: (1 mark for name, 1 mark for brief description; any one of the following)
Heterotrophic hypothesis (or “primordial soup” hypothesis): life evolved from a
“primordial soup” of simple inorganic chemicals (based on experiments on early
atmosphere)
Panspermia hypothesis (or “seeds from space”): microbes or organic precursors
from elsewhere were delivered to Earth on meteorites
Chemoautotrophic hypothesis (or “life from the depths” hypothesis): life
originated at deep-sea hydrothermal vents, in a high-temperature environment
where organisms created their food from chemicals (sulphur) rather than by
photosynthesis
d. What is one important thing that scientists have learned about the history of life on
this planet, through studying the fossil record?
Answer: (2 marks for any one of the following)
the species living today are only a tiny fraction of all the species that have ever
lived
the vast majority of Earth’s species are long extinct
earlier types of organisms changed, or evolved, into later ones
the number of species existing at any one time has increased through history (OR)
biodiversity has increased through Earth history, although not evenly
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Document Summary

Question #1: in class we defined environment to include biotic and abiotic components, the built environment, and social/cultural institutions. Answer: (1 mark for each of three reasonable ways that social/cultural institutions influence the natural environment. Specific examples are not necessarily required, but how each of them is connected to the natural environment needs to be clear. ) Government policies, such as setting aside protected land or subsidizing resource extraction. Economic drivers such as poverty, which might lead a country to exploit its natural resources, for example. Cultural values, such as holding a certain natural location to be sacred or important traditional ecological knowledge: name one biotic and one abiotic component of the natural environment. Answer: (0. 5 marks for biotic; 0. 5 marks for abiotic not necessary to define them, just give an example. They need to be examples from the natural environment, not from the built environment, so buildings is not an appropriate example of an abiotic component, for example. )

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